It was The BIG One—but for Ted Apple, it really was more like The BIG Hour.
Apple did all of his Day 1 scoring—and all but $27.20 of his total scoring—in a 59-minute span late on Saturday, and the Fairfield Glade, Tennessee, resident made that spurt count as he held on for a $3.20 victory over Giuseppe Petrella in the 2020 The BIG One, held this year right here at HorseTourneys. Apple, 69, received the grand prize of $91,550 plus a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry, which he chose over the other two options—an NHC seat and a Pegasus World Cup entry plus cash supplement.
After whiffing on his first two selections, Apple connected with Helena Beat ($19.80, $9.40 in the 8th at Monmouth) with his third of 12 obligatory plays on Saturday. Apple didn’t know it at the time, but the race—which went off at 3:59 pm—began an hour of his horseplaying lifetime that he will never forget.
After passing on the 6th at Woodbine, Apple followed Helena Beat up with a Graham Motion-trained firster, Batyah ($17.00, $9.40), who won the 7th at Belmont. The horses in that one left the gate at 4:11 pm.
Similar to Barry Bonds only swinging at every other pitch during a Home Run Derby, Apple then skipped the 8th at Laurel before hitting a bomb with Lucky Lover Boy ($47.40, $9.20) in the 9th at Monmouth. That came at 4:28 pm.
In hindsight, Apple should have taken another pitch at 4:33 pm when his Singspiel Stakes pick, Tiz a Slam, squandered an early lead and finished 7th. With that loss out of the way, though, it cleared the decks for the wonderful last couple of minutes in Apple’s golden hour—race 9 at Laurel where Gennie Highway ($18.00, $8.20) won the off-the-turfer that began at 4:58 pm.
Apple wasted no time extending his lead in the day’s very first contest race on Sunday, collecting with 9-2 winner If Not Now in the 5th at Monmouth. Then, however, came a dry spell. A very long dry spell.
The Tennessee retiree blanked on his next nine plays, and now the field was catching up to him. Alexa Zepp and Brendan Fay had drawn within 10 dollars of the lead. Wendy Long and Joe Koury were only about 20 dollars behind Zepp and Fay.
It suddenly appeared to be anyone’s tourney—and that seemed even more true after the 11th at Monmouth.
Giuseppe Petrella was as high as second place on Day 1 before finishing the day in 5th. On Sunday, he kept sinking in the standings (down to 20th) until he conveniently came up with Incovenient Facts ($44.00, $12.80) in the 11th at Monmouth. The BIG One now had a new leader.
The problem for Petrella was that he was down to one play—three fewer than Ted Apple. However, Apple whiffed on his next two picks, and Petrella was still clinging to his $6.60 lead.
The lead for Petrella didn’t last past the 13th at Monmouth, though. Utilizing his “play in hand”, Apple opted for 2-1 favorite Wild Embrace who reported home 3 1/2 lengths in front and paid $6.20 to win and $3.60 to place. That gave the lead back to Apple by $3.20 with just two races left, and most players having just one pick remaining.
The 14th at Monmouth and the 11th at Woodbine went off just a couple of minutes apart. Most saved their last pick for Woodbine, which came later and offered a slightly larger field.
Here’s who the top group had going into that final tourney race:
And here’s how the race turned out:
There was $30.90 lurking out there in an 8-horse field and no one could find it. Well…at least no one above Paul Scott, who was in 41st place at the time. Ted Apple held on for the win. Giuseepe Petrella had to settle for second. Alexa Zepp checked in third.
Here’s the complete order of finish:
Boosted by five late buy-in entries at $7,500 each, the cash-prize pool for The BIG One wound up at $228,875. Apple received 40% of that–or $91,550.
The first four finishers—Apple, Petrella, Zepp and Wendy Long—chose BCBC entries to go with their cash winnings. Brendan Fay in fifth opted for a Pegasus seat (which comes with an additional cash credit to bring the prize to a value commensurate with the others). Joe Koury, Mike Yurczyk and Sammy Richman decided on BCBC seats for their respective finishes in 6th, 7th and 8th places. And, per The BIG One rules, that meant that William Smith and Timothy Hughes received NHC seats, so that the event could award two such seats and, thus, offer NHC Tour points.
It seemed that a good time was had by all…and a good prize was won by many (including the 11th- through 15th-place finishers Rick Broth, Stephen McNatton, Frank Polk, Steve Nemetz and Shad Walton who got their choice of $1,500 in cash or a Horse Player World Series entry).
We’ll get to know The BIG One champ Ted Apple a little bit better in tomorrow’s blog…but, for now, we have plenty more weekend results to catch ourselves up on!
Mark Richards was leading by $16.00 heading into the last race of Wednesday’s $2,000 Guaranteed cash game. Then he blocked would-be intruders by hitting 7-1 Zanesville in the final race to collect $1,728 from a final total pot of $3,456.
Friday was pretty much Brett Wiener’s Day.
He pocketed not one, but two $1,500 Flo-Cal Faceoff entries for completing the exacta all by himself. Here’s a look at Wiener’s “good” entry:
Wiener’s opponents in Friday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Pick & Pray got a painfully good look at it too. Here Wiener earned $6,483 out of a final overall purse of $12,967.
Wiener also won a $3,000 Keeneland Fall BCBC/NHC Online Challenge entry, though here…
…he was only second best behind Ron Ferrise.
Remember when we said Friday was “pretty much” Brett Wiener’s day? Well we had to couch things with “pretty much” because Ferrise had a great day in his own right.
By virtue of his win in the Low Ratio qualifier at HorsePlayers on Friday, Ferrise will be heading to the BCBC—an event that he placed second in back in 2017 at Del Mar.
Despite all that winning by Wiener and Ferrise, the high score on Friday was turned in by Bob Schreiter in the $75 NHC qualifier at HorsePlayers.
A lot of double-qualified players turned out for this one, including the aforementioned Brett Wiener, who finished second (and fifth and sixth!). That meant that the second available “Bally’s Berth” went to third-place finisher Christopher Olsson.
Here’s a look at Schreiter’s best-of-Friday scorecard:
The NHC qualifier provided the high score of Saturday as well.
Dan Lytwynec did the honors at HorsePlayers with 4 winners. Close behind him was Jeannie King, who also punched her ticket to Vegas, with 5 wins and a place.
We all know that you can’t spell BCBC without “BC”, and it was Brian “BC” Chenvert who prevailed at HorsePlayers in Saturday’s $179 “regular” qualifier.
Chenvert had 3 firsts and 1 second. All three of his winners came at Monmouth—in races 9, 10 and 12—at odds of 22-1, 16-1 and 9-1, respectively.
In Saturday’s Super Low Ratio, $1,000 qualifier to the BCBC, William Roth got hot late to snag the victory.
Roth (4 wins, 2 places) cashed with 2 runners up and with winner Dirty Dangle ($11.30, $4.70) in the 10th at Woodbine) to get up.
Back here at HorsePlayers, it was NHC Hall of Famer Paul Shurman who captured Saturday’s $25,000 cash game.
Shurman (4 wins, 1 place) blasted out of the gate with 8-1, 22-1 and 16-1 winners over the first four races, then he hit Dirty Dangle at the end to secure the winner’s share of $12,321 in a tourney that closed with a pot of $27,381.
Tom “Hit ‘em Where They” Arndt had a great daily double of sorts in Saturday’s $10,000 Guaranteed Big Bucks Pick & Pray.
Arndt (4 wins, no places) connected with Lucky Lover Boy (22-1) and King of Spades (16-1) in the 9th and 10th races at Monmouth to storm off to a $38.60 victory that was worth $9,261 from a total purse of $13,230.
Dave Corbeill took top honors in Saturday’s $8 Pick 6 Jackpot tourney with 4 winners.
Things got exciting in this one as Emilio Borcan and Michael Murphy each were perfect through four heats. However, they faltered late and wound up tied for 22nd place.
That left a carryover of $22,800 for the Sunday Pick 6 Jackpot game, and if things looked ripe for a win on Saturday, they looked…extra ripe…on Sunday.
Alas, it wasn’t to be. Karen Richards and Christopher Pall finished tied for first by having the first four winners plus the last one. There were six players (including Pall with one of his other entries) who were alive going into the last leg. Five of them took 3-5 favorite Lucy’s Town.
But Lucy pulled the football away just as they were ready to kick it when her up-the-rail hang job resulted in a third-place finish. (We swear that in midstretch it looked like Lucy’s Town was going to win by daylight!) Rick Forzano’s horse, Unbridledadventure, was off the board.
At any rate, the lack of a perfect ticket means that next Saturday’s Jackpot will start out at $23,233.
On Sunday, Ted Apple won The BIG One, of course. But Jose Sahagun won the “pretty big” one.
Sahagun had 3 wins and 2 places to pocket $9,086 in Sunday’s $15,000 Guaranteed cash tourney, which had a final pot of $20,090.
Another “Big” one went to Adam Lewis.
He had just 2 wins and a place, but that was good for first place and $8,549 in the $7,500 Guaranteed Big Bucks tourney, which finished up with a purse of $12,213.
Eddie “The Wright Stuff” Wright had a pretty big day of his own.
Wright rolled to a $39.00 victory in Sunday’s Flo-Cal Faceoff qualifier on the strength of 2 wins and 3 places. It was a close finish for second, but Mark Simonovic and Steve “People Are” Stange each picked up $1,500 Faceoff entries behind Wright.
Then those same picks made Wright right again in Sunday’s Keeneland qualifier.
Mike Yurczyk—7th in The BIG One—got the other available $3,000 Keeneland entry for finishing behind Wright.
Sean O’Malley (2 winners) took the $765 top prize in Sunday’s $1,000 Guaranteed Exacta tourney.
The larger of O’Malley’s two hits by far was a $1 payoff of $145.70 for the 11th-race Monmouth gimmick.
Finally, over at HorsePlayers, the recent hot run of Nick “48 Hours” Noce continued on Sunday.
The former Western OTB executive and current government official in Rochester, N.Y., captured a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge seat with 2 wins and 3 places in the day’s Low Ratio qualifier. His big scoring contributor was 21-1 winner Inconvenient Facts in the 11th at Monmouth.
With that, we close the books on another exciting week…but come back tomorrow for an interview with Ted Apple. He’ll discuss his white-hot run on Saturday, his ice-cold stretch on Sunday, and the thrill of turning a $46 feeder entry into a six-figure score of a lifetime.